RealTime IT News

Early 2000 High-Flyers Still Soaring

On Wednesday we looked at Internet IPOs from the first two months of the year, noting that eight of the 32 companies going public in January and February posted first-day gains of 200 percent or more.

But where are they now? Let's look at the brief aftermarket performance of six of our top eight through Thursday afternoon trading. (We'll exclude net.Genesis (NTGN) and Avenue A (AVEA), which both went public only two days ago.)

The company with the best first-day performance of nearly 300 Internet IPOs in the past 15 months still has plenty of fuel in its tank. webMethods (WEBM), a maker of B2B software based on eXtensible Markup Language, or XML, closed at 212 5/8 on Feb. 11, a gain of 508 percent. Since then the stock has continued to soar, closing at 308 1/16 on Tuesday. It's fallen off quite a bit from then, to 283 15/16 Thursday afternoon. Still, I'd take 711 percent above the offer price.

Another e-business software and services provider, FirePond (FIRE), ended its first day of trading on Feb. 4 at 100-1/4, or 356 percent above its offer price. By the next trading day, Feb. 7, FIRE was down to $77 per share. For most of the rest of the month the stock kicked around in the 70s and low 80s before regaining lost altitude in recent days. It was trading at 88-1/4 Thursday afternoon.

Online medical supply middleman Neoforma.com (NEOF) - yes, another B2B player - notched a 303 percent first-day gain when it began trading on Jan. 24, closing at 52 3/8. After slumping briefly, NEOF climbed above $70 per share by mid-month. Thursday afternoon, however, the stock was back down to 56-1/2 -- still above the first-day close, but barely.

Expense management software vendor Extensity's (EXTN) IPO on Jan. 24 saw a 303 percent gain above the offer price, with shares closing at 71-1/4. By Thursday afternoon shares had slipped to 68.

With a closing price of $88 per share in its Feb. 18 IPO, Taiwanese broadband access provider GigaMedia (GIGM) posted a 226 percent first-day gain. After hanging below that amount for several days, the stock shot up to close at 90-3/4 on Wednesday. Shares were trading Thursday afternoon at 89.

Finally, cattle industry B2B site eMerge Interactive (EMRG) logged a first-day gain of 215 percent on Feb. 4, closing at 47-1/4. On Thursday afternoon shares of EMRG were selling at 53-1/8.

Adding it all up, four of the six big Internet IPO gainers are trading above their first-day closing prices. Not surprisingly, three of the four are B2B e-commerce companies, the hottest sector of them all.

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